Tracking the XD(M) 5.25
In the early spring of 2011, I visited Springfield Armory in Geneseo, IL and got an in-depth, one-on-one preview of the then about-to-be-introduced XD(M) 5.25 from Dave Williams, head of the Springfield Armory Custom Shop. The pistol was, essentially, the standard XD(M) extended to a 5.25” barrel length (hence the nomenclature) with commensurate slide length.
Now, the standard barrel length on an XD(M) is 4.5”, so we’re talking three quarters of an inch. That’s more barrel, more slide, more weight up front. That muzzle-heavy feel can slow you down tracking between multiple targets. So, the slide of the 5.25 is “skeletonized” above the barrel to reduce the weight. If that sounds suspiciously like what Glock did with their long-barrel competition guns, well, welcome to the Planet Earth: folks like Leatham, who shot the multi-target Steel Challenge matches under time, had been doing this sort of skeletonizing on 1911s even earlier than Glock. There ain’t too much new under the sun. The bottom line is, this configuration gives you a longer sight radius which historically reduces shooter error . . . a longer gun, which when you’re looking over the top of it in close tends to create a “pointing wand” effect that makes coarsely aimed gunfire hit closer to center . . . and, overall, a gun that tracks faster between multiple targets.
The standard XD(M) features are all there: ambi mag release, which allows the shooter to use the index finger of the shooting hand instead of the thumb, dumping the magazine faster without “breaking the hold;” interchangeable backstraps to give the shooter more adaptability to a perfect interface between man and machine; and a reshaped slide (compared to the original XD) that many find faster to operate under stress.